Basics of Building a Chicken Coop 

If you want to keep chickens, one of the first things you need to do is have someplace for them to live. Learning how to build a chicken coop is fairly straight-forward, though you do need to decide what type of chicken house you want to have.


There are basically two types of chicken coops. You can either have a permanent chicken house, or a portable chicken coop (also sometimes called a chicken tractor). There are pros and cons to both styles of chicken coops.

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You can find detailed plans for various designs of chicken coop plans here. With some wood and chicken wire, you can build a chicken coop for your backyard in just a few afternoons. 



Portable Chicken Coop                                            


For anyone keeping just a small flock in a backyard, the portable chicken coop is probably the best Portable Chicken Coop

option. The basic idea of the the chicken tractor is that you can move it from place to place, giving your chickens a fresh patch of grass to run in.


The small fenced-in pen is attached to the house, which can then be lifted and moved even with the chickens still inside. The usual design has wheels at one end, and handles on the other. So it works kind of like a wheelbarrow, where you pick it up by the handles and just roll the whole chicken house to another part of the yard.


Though small, you still need about 4 to 6 square feet of space for each bird in your hen house. One door would open into the pen section of the tractor, but you also need another door for you to reach in and collect your eggs.


How big to build your portable chicken coop will depend on how much you can comfortably lift to move. But this type of chicken housing can usually be used for backyard flocks of up to 6 or 8 chickens. Any more than that, and your house will be too large to move around.



Permanent Chicken Coop 


Building a chicken coop that is permanent will allow you to have a larger number of birds, and can Permanent Chicken Coopsometimes be more secure against predators. You'll need the same amount of space per bird as already mentioned, as well as an attached pen area that is fenced in. Since the coop doesn't move, you'll have to have some kind of bedding that can be changed out regularly to keep things clean. Straw or wood shavings work best.


Unlike the portable chicken coops, you will need to actually get in a larger hen house, so a "people size" door is essential so you can clean it out easily.


Whether you go with a permanent coop, or a portable chicken coop, there are a few things that are the same either way. Your chicken house should be tight and secure to keep out pests. Mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, cats and dogs will take any opportunity to break in to your hen house. They may just steal the chicken feed, but the larger ones will eat the eggs or kill the chickens.


Both kinds of chicken houses also need nesting boxes and a few places for roosting. If you have cold winters, your coop should have no drafts and be fairly insulated against the weather.



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